WWE Old School PPV Review: Survivor Series 1987

WWE’s next major PPV, Survivor Series, is right around the corner, coming to the WWE Network on Sunday, November 18. The event is one of the major PPVs for WWE, right alongside Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, and Summerslam, and it’s also one of the oldest.

Survivor Series began back on November 26, 1987 with a simple idea: have four tag team matches where contestants are eliminated until only one team is left standing. The 1987 Survivor Series came in at 2 hours and 44 minutes for the matches and a whole bunch of weird interviews and segments.

Considering GameSpot’s Mat Elfring and Chris E. Hayner review each current WWE PPV, we thought it would be a good idea to take a time machine 31 years in the past to watch this show on the WWE Network, and review it like it just recently aired. Because they were only four matches at this event, we decided to discuss some of the segments and interviews that took place because they are bonkers in their own right.

Here’s the card for Survivor Series 1987 before we kick things off:

Match 1

Team 1: Brutus Beefcake, Jake Roberts, Jim Duggan, Randy Savage, and Ricky Steamboat

Team 2: Dangerous Danny Davis, Harley Race, Hercules, The Honky Tonk Man, and Ron Bass

Match 2

Team 1: The Fabulous Moolah, Itsuki Yamazaki, Noriyo Tateno, Rockin’ Robin, and Velvet McIntyre

Team 2: Dawn Marie, Donna Christanello, Leilani Kai, Judy Martin, and Sensational Sherri

Match 3

Team 1: The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid), The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell), The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques Rougeau and Raymond Rougeau), Strike Force (Rick Martel and Tito Santana), and The Young Stallions (Jim Powers and Paul Roma)

Team 2: The Bolsheviks (Boris Zhukov and Nikolai Volkoff), Demolition (Ax and Smash), The Dream Team (Dino Bravo and Greg Valentine), The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart), and The Islanders (Haku and Tama)

Match 4

Team 1: André the Giant, Butch Reed, King Kong Bundy, One Man Gang, and Rick Rude

Team 2: Bam Bam Bigelow, Don Muraco, Hulk Hogan, Ken Patera, and Paul Orndorff

Make sure to come back to GameSpot on Sunday, November 18 for live coverage of this year’s PPV and a review of that show as well.

Interview: Team Honky Tonk Man

Mat: What’s amazing about this is that Hercules is in the back mugging so hard for the camera. Everyone is having their own conversation, but only Honky Tonk has the mic. It’s pure chaos, and it’s wonderful. Unscripted promos are the best.

Chris: This is an example of something that would never EVER happen in 2018, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. It’s just manic, having these four essentially on their own planes of existence, with Honky Tonk Man–who I do not like one bit–screaming into a microphone. It’s wild how silly they make Harley Race seem here, and I kind of love it. My only wish if that it would’ve been Bobby Heenan with the mic.

Interview: Team Macho Man

Mat: The madness continues. Hacksaw Jim Duggan is using his 2X4 as a gun and Ricky Steamboat is doing Karate moves. The best part of the whole segment is Macho Man sliding in, with his back turned to the camera to tell us about the danger zone. He seems so confused yet confident in his confusion.

Chris: I… I don’t even know what to say about any of this. Ricky Steamboat is a New Yorker, billed from Hawaii, doing a karate gimmick. Jim Duggan’s character is “weirdo with a 2×4.” The ’80s were wild and, at times, way too much. While these are fun, for the most part, this is going to be a long show.

Men’s Survivor Series Match 1

Mat: Dangerous Danny Davis sounds like one of my created wrestlers. He kinda looks like one too. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake’s outfit gives me no confidence that he’s actually a good barber. Why was I so into this guy as a kid? He’s like a poor man’s Zodiac. The audience at this event is the best. It’s just regular folk. There’s no wrestling smarks or dumb signs. It’s just average folk. I’m so happy I got into wrestling during this era.

Ricky Steamboat is so good. He’s such ahead of his time, and it really shows here. He’s so smooth in the ring. And it’s apparent, from the get-go that this match is really just to highlight team Macho Man. It gets pretty brutal towards the end when it’s Macho Man, Steamboat, and Jake Roberts all beating on Honky Tonk, to the point where Honky Tonk just leaves the ring and gets counted out. What a weird finish, but I’m totally down with that.

7/10

Chris: I can’t believe Jim Duggan did a corkscrew plancha to the outside. I’m kidding, of course that didn’t happen. There’s none of that on this show because it’s 1987. These characters, though, are fascinating to watch. It’s interesting to me that I watched this stuff in the 1980s and was so convinced it was real. As an adult, I’m watching a barber with a mullet fight an Elvis impersonator and… I’m kind of into it. These characters are so over-the-top but in a wildly entertaining way, even if the fighting looks even less impactful than anything you’ll see today. The star of the match, for my money, is Ricky Steamboat. He’s one of the best to ever step between the ropes and he’s in fine form here. The match itself, though, left a lot to be desired. This is the first Survivor Series match ever and it ended because Honky Tonk just walked away? Poor form.

5.5/10

Interview: Andre The Giant’s Team

Mat: You ever see a bad movie where all the extras in the background are talking, but it’s obvious no one is really having an actual conversation. That’s what’s happening here. One Man Gang (oh Akeem) is just talking to the backs of everyone’s head and nodding like a madman. I feel like Andre The Giant is mere seconds away from cracking up during that bit.

Chris: Wow. First of all, Slick and Bobby Heenan in a promo together is the stuff of dreams. The odd man out here is Rick Rude, the only person showing literally zero emotion. He’s just kind of standing there, showing off his amazing mustache. Sometimes, though, that’s enough.

Women’s Survivor Series Match

Mat: I know who Fabulous Moolah, the Jumping Bomb Angels, and Sensational Sherri are, and that’s about it. Before the match starts, Jesse Ventura decides to promote The Running Man, shamelessly, and I love it. But man, Rockin’ Robin is pretty awful to watch, especially when she’s facing Sensational Sherri for a few minutes. They’re both in very separate leagues as Robin half-sells everything. Speaking of separate leagues, the Jumping Bomb Angels are a lot better than I remember. The pace is pretty high for a match during the late-80s. You can’t really take your eyes off the match as everything is happening to quickly.

There are so many crossbody blocks, double underhook suplexes, and women being pulled into the ring over the top rope though. Wash, rinse, and repeat. And toward the end of the match, when it’s just the Jumping Bomb Angels and the Glamour Girls, I just want the match to be over. The quick pace has worn a bit thin, and I just need it all to slow down a bit.

6/10

Chris: Do you remember the Glamour Girls? Yeah, neither do I. But they wear gold and Jimmy Hart is their manager, I guess. So many of the names in this match are forgotten, which is a bummer. But seeing the likes of Sensational Sherri, Rockin’ Robin, and Fabulous Moolah is interesting. Sherri doesn’t get enough credit for her role as a wrestler, due to her later time as one of the very best managers ever. She looks great in this match, though, and it the “Ladies World Champion,” which is somehow a worse title name than Divas Champion. Unfortunately, the action in this match just doesn’t have the same weight to it. This show, for the most part, isn’t about blood feuds or anything like that, so the characters are important. Sadly, the women’s characters just are defined well-enough–especially the final four of the Jumping Bomb Angels and the Glamour Girls. At least this match had a real ending, though.

5/10

Interview: Bobby Heenan’s Team

Mat: This is the most madness. There are so many people yelling on screen, and I can’t understand one thing anyone is saying. Heenan is blocking everyone talking too, and his back is to the camera. It’s the best. I’m also glad to see Jimmy Hart does his jacket changes during interviews. It’s very important that your outfit represent the wrestlers you’re managing.

Chris: This is officially the best part of the show yet. Why? Because Demolition. I can watch Demolition stand in the background and be weird for hours. What a crazy pants team Heenan built. And shouts to Greg “The Hammer” Valentine for making it onto this show and yet another costume change for Jimmy Hart.

Interview: Strike Force Team

Mat: This looks like a bunch of dudes tailgating before a football team, but I’m very confused as to what football team these gentlemen are rooting for. Is it the Decatur Staleys? Now that was a great football team. Anyway, this is a good example of why some wrestlers should be a bit more scripted, as it’s impossible to make out what’s actually going on.

Chris: Team Strike Force looks like an early-80s TV movie adaptation of some comic book you’ve never read. They all look like low budget superheroes and their motto is “unity for victory.” Does that make Bret Hart their Joker?

Note from Mat: Strike Force was TOTALLY a comic book you’ve never read during the ’90s.

Tag Team Survivor Series Match

Mat: It’s really weird to see Rick Martel not using his “Model” gimmick. This is a really long match, running around 40 minutes. Sure, there are some fun moments, but this match is overstuffed, and it contains plenty of wrestlers I’m not interested in, including the Hart Foundation as heels, before they really hit their groove.This was the first time during this Survivor Series event that I simply didn’t care what was happening nor did I feel invested in the match in any way.

3/10

Chris: I’m having a hard time believing this match started with wrestlers demanding the audience rise for the Russian national anthem. Yeah, this was Nikolai Volkoff’s gimmick, but it’s so much more haunting in 2018. Regardless, why is this match so long? There’s nothing interesting happening in it at all. In fact, the part I was most entertained by was Jesse Ventura talking about the pilgrim hat he was wearing.

2.5/10

Segment: Ted DiBiase Counts Money, Bullies Children

Mat: Ted DiBiase is the greatest thing, to me, about the late-80s and early-90s WWF. The Million Dollar Man is such a great gimmick. He’s just sitting in a nice car, counting money, and trash talking. The man is incredibly underrated when it comes to cutting promos. That laugh is the best.

Additionally, I could watch all these segments of Million Dollar Man challenging kids to do contests for money all day long. They are hilarious. There is nothing better than DiBiase kicking the ball out of the kid’s hand while he dribbling. NOTHING. None of this second part of the segment is new, but it’s a nice package to show off how amazing DiBiase is.

Chris: Ted Diabe is such an a**hole. He’s a perfect heel, just throwing money at anything standing in his way. He’s literally spending his Thanksgiving riding around in the back of a car, counting his money and remembering the times he humiliated children. What an amazing character that perfectly sums up the excess of the ’80s.

Interview: Team Hulk Hogan

Mat: How do these interviews keep getting weirder? What is going on with Hogan’s bandanna? Why is Hogan blocking everyone who is talking into the mic? This seems like a bunch of men who have already lost their minds.

Chris: Leave it to Hulk Hogan to take this insanity to the extreme. Why does his headband have bangs? And, yeah, for some reason, Hulk is blocking everyone. Whoever produced this is just… bad. Also, I’m convinced this promo alone inspired the Oddities.

Men’s Survivor Series Match 2

Mat: I forgot how big Hulk Hogan was, which is kind of a dumb statement, but the crowd is on fire from the moment Hogan enters the arena. It wasn’t like this at all during the rest of the PPV. The whole match is really just building towards a face-off between Hogan and Andre, and when it begins, it really pays off. I love how sad Hogan is after getting eliminated. He’s on the verge of crying. As soon as he’s gone though, the train loses steam, right up until Bam Bam does a bunch of somersaults to escape Andre, and I completely lose it.

The finish is nutso, as Andre wins by arm dragging Bam Bam. Today, you can’t win a major match without dropping like at least 14 F-5s on someone. Andre wins, but then Hogan comes out an mugs for the camera a bunch to his theme music. And there’s like 10 minutes of Hogan pointing and flexing because that’s a thing that happened a lot back then. Yeah, this feels a lot like the ’80s, which is good because it’s 1987.

7/10

Chris: Man, Hogan is so over. It might be the most over anyone’s ever been in wrestling, which is saying something. This is going down during peak-Hulkamania, and his popularity just dwarfs everyone else in the ring. Also, he still has a bit of a hairline, so there’s that too. Truthfully, this match is nothing more than means to an end. It’s all about getting Hogan and Andre face-to-face.

Everything outside of that good and this match serves as a decent reminder of how cool Bam Bam Bigelow was. It’s easily the best match on the card, but the magic comes when Andrew and Hulk are in the ring together, because that electricity shoots through the crowd. But Hogan losing the match via countout is a stroke of genius here. Hogan sells disappointment in himself, while they keep him from losing clean. From there, it’s just a matter of time until Andre the Giant wins the match.

8/10

Post-Match Interview: Andre The Giant

Mat: While this interview is going on, Hogan is still doing his thing in the ring. His music is blaring and the crowd is cheering. Meanwhile, I can’t make out what Andre the Giant is saying. He pointed a lot, so I know Andre means business. I haven’t had this much fun watching mediocre matches in years. Can we cut back to Ted DiBiase picking on children, please?

Chris: The end of this show really makes Hogan look awful. He got counted out on his own accord then attacked Andre with the title? That’s your hero, America? That’s your Real American? For shame!

X018 Roundup: Crackdown 3 Release Date, Xbox One X Discount, New Game Pass Titles, And More

Microsoft held a special event in Mexico City to promote all the happenings surrounding Xbox One, titled X018. The event showed off loads of new footage for upcoming games, announcements of release dates, DLC, and features, and even a few surprise Microsoft acquisitions. You can check out the full roundup of all the news from the show below.

Crackdown 3

Crackdown 3 is finally happening with a solid release date. You’ll be able to patrol the city and crack the skulls of some criminal overlords on February 15, 2019. [Full story]

The company also debuted a brand new multiplayer mode for Crackdown 3 called Wrecking Zone. It pits two teams of five against each other in a destructible arena.

Plus, for fans or newcomers alike, the original Crackdown is now free through November 30. Get in there and clean up the town, agents.

Forza Horizon 4 DLC

Forza Horizon 4 showed off its first big expansion, titled Fortune Island. The DLC will take you to the windy roads and treacherous weather of the northern British Isles, and introduce a host of new cars as well.

Xbox Game Pass Adding 16 More Games

Xbox One’s all-you-can-eat subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, announced 16 new games heading to the subscription in the coming months. Those include PUBG, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and Ori and the Blind Forest, among others.

The company also mentioned that Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the sequel to the Blind Forest, will come to Game Pass on release day next year.

Finally, Game Pass now has its own dedicated app, which will help players discover new games and set them to download from wherever they are.

New Studio Acquisitions

Microsoft expanded its portfolio of studios as well, with two more announcements. The first was the InXile, the studio behind Wasteland and The Bard’s Tale.

The second studio acquisition was the developer behind Knights of the Old Republic and Fallout: New Vegas, Obsidian Entertainment.

Xbox One Black Friday Deals

With Black Friday around the corner, Microsoft couldn’t resist teasing the deals it has in store for the retail holiday. Xbox One consoles and games will get some deep discounts.

State of Decay 2 Getting Free DLC, Very Soon

The zombie survival game State of Decay 2 is getting a free DLC pack, and just like that zombie you don’t realize is right behind you, it’s closer than you think. [Full Story]

Sea of Thieves Getting New PvP Arena

Sea of Thieves showed off its next big update, which will bring a new PvP competitive arena to the pirate game. [Full Story]

Devil May Cry 5 Void Mode

DMC5 showed off a lengthy look at the new Void mode, which will let demon hunters test their skills or just try out new moves in a simulated environment with lots of options. [Full Story]

Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy Now Xbox One Backwards Compatible

The Xbox One backwards compatibility list has gotten another expansion with the addition of all three Final Fantasy XIII games. Civilization Revolution, already backwards compatible, has also been updated with Xbox One X enhancements. [Full Story]

New Kingdom Hearts 3 Trailer

The latest trailer for the Disney and Square Enix epic Kingdom Hearts 3 debuted, giving us an extended view of Pooh bear. [Full Story]

Xbox One KBM Support

Several games will be getting keyboard and mouse support on Xbox One, including Fortnite. [Full Story]

Metro Exodus Gets A Big Collector’s Edition

We got a closer look at Metro Exodus, including its hulking $235 Spartan Collector’s Edition. [Full Story]

Jump Force Trailer Is Just Saiyan

An extended look at Jump Force gave us a better look at some fighters, including some notable names from the Dragon Ball franchise. [Full Story]

Shadow Of The Tomb Raider Forge DLC Trailer Shows Off New Co-op And Score Attack Modes

During Microsoft’s XO18 livestream, the developers behind Shadow of the Tomb Raider revealed more info about the upcoming DLC for the game. In The Forge, players will be able to take on a number of new challenges and tombs, even allowing for players to work with a friend to solve many complex puzzles. In the new trailer, we saw a glimpse of what’s to come in the new adventure, which will take the Lara Croft to a complex smithing temple hidden in the dense jungles.

In The Forge, Lara and her ally will uncover a new tomb in South America, housing a new threat that will put the world at risk yet again. Like other DLCs from previous Tomb Raider games, these updates add entirely new areas to explore, and along with new enemies and weapons to find. What’s interesting about The Forge, however, is that it will add co-op play, with many of the puzzles and tombs tasking both characters to solve many of its complex challenges. Along with story content, there’s also the inclusion of the Score Attack mode, which will allow players to compete agains each other by traversing the environment and gaining a higher score over their opponent.

As the first post-launch DLC for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Forge will be one of several new expansions coming to the game. Though you can play the entire DLC with a friend, you can still play solo as well. With a planned schedule of new content over the next several months, the season pass will allow many players to take part in new events and story missions that will gradually be included in the game. The Forge is set to launch on November 13, this new expansion will add even more tombs and secrets to uncover.

There’s much more to see from XO18. In addition to the reveal of Crackdown 3’s multiplayer mode, the new IP Void Masters, there were several new games revealed for Xbox One’s Game Pass–including PUBG, Hellblade, and Agents of Mayhem.

Full Metal Furies Review – Puzzle-Brawler

It’s difficult to define which exact genre Cellar Door Games’ Full Metal Furies belongs to. On a cursory glance, the co-op game appears to be no more than a well-structured brawler, and you’d be forgiven if you completed its 15-hour campaign thinking that’s all it is. However, if you dig a little deeper into the optional hidden content, there’s another five to seven hours of complex, multi-layered riddles to find. There’s a fascinating meta narrative interwoven into Full Metal Furies’ puzzles, and journeying to its end makes for a satisfying cooperative experience.

In Full Metal Furies, each player takes control of one of four adventurers. If played solo, the game puts you in control of two and you can switch between them at will. There’s Triss, the leader whose penchant for sassily drinking tea often leads to hilarious spit-takes; Meg, the lazy, nearsighted sniper with a poor sense of direction; Erin, the brainy tinkerer who desperately wants to be cool; and Alex, the air-headed soldier who wholeheartedly believes bashing in the skulls of the arrogant men she and her friends run into should be both a first and last resort to solving all their problems.

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Collectively known as the Furies, the four girls are on a quest to cross the monster-infested wasteland that humanity once called its home in order to find and destroy god-like entities known as the Titans. The sons and daughters of the mad tyrant Cronus, each of the four Titans desires a better world, and their conflicting ideologies as to how to bring about that dream have led to a war that threatens to destroy all life.

This seemingly straightforward battle between good and evil hides a surprising number of twists and turns. With every step forward, the Furies notice more signs that their efforts might be actually causing more problems than they’re solving. But the team keeps pushing onwards, hoping that in the long run, their efforts will have a positive effect on the world. The narrative plays out in a series of sprite-based conversations, both during and in between combat missions. For the most part, these are tongue-in-cheek skits–some even throw in the occasional pun or reference to the fact that this is all a video game–but a few also focus on Triss’ growth. Despite putting on airs, she struggles with the responsibilities of leadership and the morality of the Furies’ quest. Unfortunately, her teammates don’t receive the same treatment, and are fairly two-dimensional throughout the main campaign.

In combat, each of the four ladies handle and attack in their own way. For example, Meg can use a grappling hook to maneuver out of danger and snipe opponents from afar, while Triss can defend her teammates and herself with a near indestructible shield and also clear out enemies by screaming at the top of her lungs. Each of the girls fulfills a unique role seen in many other team-based brawlers–with Triss as the tank, Alex as the fighter, Meg as the archer/sniper, and Erin as the summoner.

Full Metal Furies supports couch co-op and online multiplayer. As of publishing this review, the Switch servers are fairly empty, but we did manage to test online play using two copies of the game and can confirm it works relatively smoothly. There were some brief stutters at the start of a few levels, but none of them negatively impacted gameplay. However, my game did completely crash at one point.

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It’s unfortunate the servers are so empty as playing with an incomplete team puts you at an immediate disadvantage. So unless you recruit some friends for couch co-op, you’re in for a fairly tough time. Even Erin and Meg are crucial, as Triss and Alex rely on their teammates’ supportive attacks to give them both time to recharge their special abilities. Button-mashing with the two melee fighters can be an effective strategy early on, but it will only get your team so far. Mid- and late-game enemies and bosses require a certain degree of tactical assessment, and chaining together each character’s abilities is the ideal path to success. For example, when confronted with a mob of jumping werewolves that are too quick for the slower fighters, your team might rely on Triss’ area-of-effect shout to stun a few, use Alex’s dive bomb jump to launch the weakened wolves into the air, and then have Meg shoot their leader out of the sky. All the while, Erin’s portable turret and her mid-range pistol can finish off the members of the pack not caught up in the combo.

Combat in Full Metal Furies is constantly evolving, with new enemy types appearing almost every third level. It keeps the game from descending into a grindfest of similar foes, while leaving room for you to experiment with new strategies on enemies you’ve encountered before. Sections of certain levels can get brutal, resulting in dozens of game over screens. But checkpoints are numerous, cutscenes you’ve seen are skippable, and it’s typically very clear which careless mistake resulted in the failed mission. If anything, the game’s combat seems content to really only punish those who play with less than four people, which presents an interesting way of making the game easier or more difficult for yourself at any point in the game. If things are still too hard with a full team of four, or you can’t scrounge up a full team but don’t want to make the game more difficult, there’s an easier Story Mode too.

Despite being labeled as a brawler, only about half of Full Metal Furies is regulated to combat. The other half is a series of interlacing puzzles and riddles, and it’s here where the co-op nature of Full Metal Furies truly shines.

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None of the puzzles or riddles in Full Metal Furies are obvious to find, and the game doesn’t teach you how to solve them either. It’s completely dependent on the player to be curious enough to wonder if the symbol-covered stones hidden throughout about two dozen of the game’s levels are more than meets the eye. Finding the stones themselves is a challenge, and once discovered, each stone’s riddle is typically even tricker to figure out.

Eventually, the main campaign reveals that solving these riddles is necessary for gaining access to the game’s final area and true ending. The riddles grow more meta as you discover additional stones, some even requiring you to do things outside of the main game, such as watching a YouTube video for a clue or adjusting the game’s accessibility settings to perceive colors and sound in a new way. Teaming up with friends to overcome a challenging boss fight is fun, but the most satisfying moments in Full Metal Furies are when you have a eureka moment and are able to figure out the next piece of the overarching mystery. Several of the solutions to certain puzzles and riddles rely on a particular Furies’ unique skill as well–some answers even require multiple Furies or the full roster of four–so every player gets to enjoy being a part of the process of figuring something out at some point. Completing this game is very much a team effort, and it successfully makes sure no single player feels left out or useless.

So yes, Full Metal Furies is primarily a brawler, and a good one that promotes teamwork instead of button-mashing. But it’s also a very hard puzzle game, one that challenges you to perceive each level, as well as the game’s mechanics and characters, in new ways. It’s a shame most of the Furies are so two-dimensional throughout the main campaign–especially Meg, who’s arguably the most lovable of the bunch–but the story is consistently witty with its humor and an absolute joy to watch unfold. And while coming up with strategies to handle new enemies and piecing together the clues for each puzzle is fairly difficult at times, it’s a rewarding and deeply satisfying challenge.

Battlefield V Early Review Impressions

Editor’s note: This is an early take on Battlefield V for PC; a full review is in the works but we will require many more hours to fully engage and evaluate everything the game has to offer. The overall opinion is subject to change through the review process.

The Battlefield series has always been about capturing the scale of war, and Battlefield V delivers as expected. Large maps made of both open fields and narrow lanes pit players in chaotic fights to capture objectives and deplete the enemy respawn count. Different classes empower soldiers with specific capabilities that provide distinct advantages in the right situations. And of course, tanks and aircraft not only change gameplay dynamics, but can swing the tide of battle in deft hands. The initial impression is that Battlefield V revels in familiarity–this entry doesn’t stray away from the franchise formula, but it’s a fine execution thus far.

It’s been a while since the franchise set foot in World War II, but this time, it does so with lesser-known conflicts at the forefront. It’s oddly refreshing to discover aspects of history that go overlooked. While we’ve had a steady diet of the snow-covered Narvik map prior to release, the game’s collection of landscapes are varied set pieces. The lush vegetation of Western Europe and the harsh deserts of North Africa present beauty in the wake of utter destruction–all these battles have been inspired by the history books and realized in a refined Frostbite engine, which has never looked better. However, the maps themselves have their limitations.

Battlefield V is as devastating as it is beautiful.
Battlefield V is as devastating as it is beautiful.

Conquest has always been Battlefield’s staple. Two huge teams fight to control capture points across a sprawling map, which helps hasten the drain of the enemy ticket count. It’s a time-tested mode, but it also highlights the shortcomings of a few maps. I can admire the spectacle of Fjell 652 and the tight firefights that take place around the capture points, but navigating the map’s narrow paths hasn’t been much fun. Narvik’s capture points encourage a variety of encounters with regards to distance, elevation, and space, but rather than flowing together, the maps feel like a collection of disparate parts for the sake of enabling these types of engagements. Metropolitan maps have certainly worked in the series’ past, but Rotterdam hasn’t been a great showcase of Battlefield V’s strengths as matches can easily devolve into tedious shootouts on city streets.

If you’re caught out of place, you’ll be punished–in other words, you’ll be shot in the back and flanked from unsuspecting locations frequently. While it can grow frustrating, overcoming seemingly hopeless scenarios is part of the process.

Grand Operations takes you into war-like scenarios that set teams up for a series of three consecutive matches, each in a different game mode and map (or variation of a map) from the same theater. This mode can be a big time commitment, but it has been the best part of Battlefield V so far, as Grand Operations keeps up the momentum and shakes up gameplay just enough to retain players through the course of the whole set of matches. The light contextualization of what both sides are trying to accomplish that goes into each phase helps (ever so slightly) paint a more enticing picture of multiplayer, rather than having you unceremoniously jump into the fray.

Success in Battlefield V very much depends on being at the right place at the right time. If you’re caught out of place, you’ll be punished–in other words, you’ll be shot in the back and flanked from unsuspecting locations frequently. While it can grow frustrating, overcoming seemingly hopeless scenarios is part of the process. Adapting to situations that develop on the field and being a helpful teammate are further encouraged by the four returning classes: Assault, Medic, Support, and Recon. So far, it seems like a small tweak helps to bring out teamwork–squadmates can revive each other regardless of class, without negating the importance of Medics since they can revive anyone and dole out additional health packs.

Player progression is dispersed in several ways. For one, you have career progression, which is your simple overall rank. Then there’s class progression, which paves the way for unlocking equipment to further customize your loadout. And lastly, both weapons and vehicles contain their own progression paths. There appears to be a lot of systems at work, but rewards seem fairly lean outside of skins and individual weapon perks.

Microtransactions are currently absent from the game, so we can’t comment on the business model yet. However, you earn in-game currency called Company Coins, which appear to be mainly for acquiring cosmetics like soldier uniforms and weapon camouflage. A few things like weapon perks cost Company Coins, but thankfully they’re cheap and require you to reach a certain level beforehand.

The game’s not a multiplayer-only endeavor with the return of War Stories, the single-player campaign offering that debuted in Battlefield 1. It serves as a tool to acquaint yourself with the basics of the game while providing grounded perspectives from contrasting theaters of war. Battlefield V itself starts not on a main menu, but in a playable teaser of each vignette from War Stories. Part of me wants to fully accept the sincerity that’s trying to be communicated through the narration and cutscenes, but I can’t help but feel it veering off into melodrama to a fault. I’ve only touched on the English campaign, but I’m hoping it makes good on the humanizing tone it appears to go for.

Sloshing through the mud in a tank in Twisted Steel is a necessary
Sloshing through the mud in a tank in Twisted Steel is a necessary

Battlefield V can be rough around the edges. Player models can clip through the world’s geometry, sometimes sending bodies into a ragdoll frenzy. You may see teammates get revived only for their character model to frantically zip 20 feet in another direction. As of now, servers have occasional instability in terms of performance and packet loss (which causes choppy motion in-game). Thankfully, I haven’t experienced hard crashes or drops from servers.

The initial impression is that Battlefield V revels in familiarity–this entry doesn’t stray away from the franchise formula, but it’s a fine execution thus far.

As of now, it feels as if Battlefield V is a variation on a well-established theme. It maintains the series tradition of grand spectacle with incredible sound design, impactful weaponry, and large-scale multiplayer chaos. There’s a lot more to dig into, like the fortification system, squad reinforcements perks, and how destruction may change map dynamics, and spending more time with the game will paint a better picture. At the end of the day, it’s still Battlefield, and Battlefield V is shaping up to be a good one at that.

Where Is Xur Today? Destiny 2 Xur’s Location & Exotics Guide (Nov. 9-13)

Destiny 2 players are still hoping for a new Exotic in Thunderlord, which is presumed to be the reward for the on-going, multi-week murder-mystery quest that started at the end of the Festival of the Lost. But if waiting three weeks to get your hands on a new Exotic is just too long, you can rely on Xur, the weird merchant and servant of The Nine who pops up each weekend. As always, he has a handful Exotics to sell you in exchange for Legendary Shards. Here’s where to find him and what he’s selling right now.

This week, you’ll find Xur on Io. Spawn in at the Giant’s Scar landing zone and hop on your sparrow, then head straight through the Cabal base into the drilling area beyond. Head for the northwest corner of the area and look for a cave near some Taken enemies. Inside and to the right is Xur, creeping in the darkness.

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His lineup of Exotics, as per usual, includes one weapon and one piece of armor for each of the three classes from the Year One collection. The weapon is The Prospector, a grenade launcher you can hold down the trigger to fire in full-auto mode. When you release the trigger, you can detonate all your launched grenades at once–and they stick to surfaces and set things on fire, too.

  • The Prospector (Exotic grenade launcher) — 29 Legendary Shards
  • Winter’s Guile (Exotic Warlock gauntlets) — 23 Legendary Shards
  • Ophidia Spathe (Exotic Hunter chest armor) — 23 Legendary Shards
  • Aeon Safe (Exotic Titan gauntlets) — 23 Legendary Shards

Alongside the direct-purchase items above, Xur has the Fated Engram. This is guaranteed to decrypt into a Year One Exotic you don’t already own, making it a good way to fill out your collection if you find Xur’s offerings lacking–provided you can afford it.

Even if you can’t, the latest Destiny 2 update mercifully makes Exotic duplicates less likely to drop. The game now accounts for the Exotics you’ve got in your collection when a new one drops randomly in the world, which will decrease the chance of getting an Exotic you already own. Duplicates are still possible, but Bungie has also changed things so dupes are more likely to be armor than weapons, because armor pieces feature random perks, meaning there is a potential upside to finding something you already have.

The update has also increased the chances of unlocking a quest to get another Exotic: Malfeasance, a Taken-infused hand cannon. The quest line to track it down starts when a specific boss, the Primeval Ascendant Servitor, appears in Gambit matches. Bungie’s last update upped the rate at which the Servitor shows up in Gambit, which should hopefully mean more Malfeasances for more players.

Xur is here until the weekly reset on November 13, and he’ll only show up two more times before Destiny 2 closes Season 4 on November 27, according to a recent blog post. That means your Gambit and Crucible ranks will reset–but at least in the meantime, you’ll be able to jump into Iron Banner again starting on November 13 to try to complete your spiffy Iron Lord armor sets.